Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada

This holidays, my mum won a trip for 4 to Vegas. I know that myself and every other person out there has often questioned who wins those overseas holiday competitions, so when my mum won this, needless to say we were all shocked.

So my family and I set off to Vegas in January this year for 4 days.

Las Vegas.

A city where alcohol is as prominent as water, and probably flows faster. Where the lights never go out and millions of people come each year to try and make their fortune. Where bigger is better and the stakes are higher than anywhere else on earth.  Where tacky paraphernalia litters the streets, mixed in with cards advertising girls for hire. It is a city where over-the-top is completely justified, and landmarks stolen from other countries are just around every corner.
It is an incredible feat; to build a city in the middle of a desert where no city should exist. But then to take it even further and turn it into a multi-billion dollar tourist industry…now that’s ingenuity.
 “In truth, it is a city of freedom, and in freedom most people find sin’ a cab driver in Amsterdam tells the main character of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Though this quote was originally describing the city of Amsterdam, I believe that it also aptly describes the city of Las Vegas.
This is the truth about Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.
Vegas could be likened to New York in that it never sleeps. The sirens from emergency services echo along the strip twenty-four hours per day, and the city always has a buzz of anticipation, hanging like an electric charge in the air.
Of course, like any city, there is both the good and the bad. My family and I found the good in the outlet malls at either end of the strip. A part of the Vegas trip which my mum won was a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon to the Grand Canyon Ranch in Arizona. It was my second time to the Canyon and it was no less spectacular than the first!

The first time when I went to Vegas in 2011, our helicopter flight landed us in the bottom of the Canyon, which was absolutely spectacular. Flying over it this time on our way to the ranch was just as incredible!

We went to see The Jersey Boys at Paris, and the positive reviews had prepared us for the awesome show that awaited. Whilst the scenery didn’t change much, the subtle prop changes for each scene left a lot to your imagination and let the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons take you away!

There are so many more things which I could write about Vegas, but you really need to experience it yourself. If you get a chance, go and explore the hotels and casinos, because the themes are all unique and interesting. Go indoor skydiving at the far end of the strip and ride the rides on the top of the Stratosphere. See a show or experience the free spectacles at night as you walk along the pavement. There’s so much to do in Vegas even if you’re not 21!

United States of America ~ New York, New York!

New York is possibly my favourite city in the entire world. With an abundance of culture, good food and of course, Time Square, you can maybe see why I would want to live in this city. It’s often referred to as ‘The City That Never Sleeps’, and for good reason. I spent a week there, but in reality, I could have spent so, so much longer.
And so, in this longer-than-usual-but-still-brief blog post, I will try to make a list of my favourite things that we did in New York!

My List of things that I loved about New York City!

     1.Time Square!

The Ferris Wheel inside Toys R Us, Time Square

So I know that it’s the absolute cliche of things to do in New York, but really, if you’re going to this city, DO. NOT. MISS. IT! There are so many things to look at, at the atmosphere in Time Square is absolutely awesome! Also, in Time Square, there is MnM world, which is a must do for people of any age. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by millions of MnMs?!
Another thing about Time Square is the Toys R Us, which you have to go to. Being the big kid I am, I went there just to ride the massive Ferris Wheel inside the store. How awesome is that! And all of the carriages are shaped like different toys. You have to do it, it’s amazing!
For those of you who also adore shopping, definitely go and visit the ginormous Forever 21 in Time Square, because it’s absolutely brilliant, and for those of you coming from Australia…it’s extremely cheap!
In Time Square is also a booth which sells cheap tickets to Broadway musicals, and it is definitely worth standing in the queue. So this leads me to my second favourite thing about NYC!
Time Square
   2. Broadway Musicals!
When I was in New York (September 2011), I was lucky enough to see two Broadway musicals with my family. The first was ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’, starring (at the time) Daniel Radcliffe! Also some other people. BUT DANIEL RADCLIFFE! This musical was hilarious and the sets were so magnificent! The second musical that we saw was ‘Priscilla- Queen of the Desert’. This musical was pretty funny, except the Australian accents were…interesting! If you go to New York and can afford it, definitely try to get to a musical! We had seen ‘Wicked’ in Australia, and it was amazing, so we decided to see different ones in NYC. I also heard that ‘The Book of Mormon’ was really awesome!
   3. Restaurants!
Da Marino, Italian Restaurant
So when we first drove into the city (yeah, we drove. Don’t do that. Our GPS dropped out because of the buildings!), we saw this amazing restaurant with flower pots out the front, and fairy lights. So one night, we decided to have dinner at this restaurants because it looked that amazing.
So we spent two hours hunting for this restaurant. Two hours! It turned out that the restaurant was literally 2 streets from our hotel, but it was worth the wait. It was an Italian restaurant by the name of Da Marino, and you should definitely go there. It’s amazing! Like, the food is pretty good, but the atmosphere is incredible. We got there at 8pm that night, and we left at 2am, that’s how good it was. There was live music, and the owner was chatting to people and the musicians were getting diners involved with shakers and getting them to sing and everything. It was so much fun (and I have only ever seen my parents that drunk one other time!). Also, the women’s bathrooms are gorgeous…literally, they have a waterfall and there are rose petals strewn everywhere! We went back for a second time later on in the week, and it was amazing again, and the amazing and friendly staff greeted us like old friends!
Also, the Carnegie Deli is definitely the place to go for a great Reuben Sandwich. They’re absolutely massive. Try and eat it all, I dare you! Both of these restaurants had great atmospheres and have awesome food!
      4. Culture!

Finally, the cultural stuff. I’m going to make a list of good things to do because this blog is getting so long!
1. The LOVE Sign. Go and take your picture with it!
Grand Central Station
2. Central Park. It’s so much fun to explore. We took a horse and carriage ride which really gives you a great way to explore the park.
3. Union Square. It’s a fun place to explore, plus it’s mentioned in the We The Kings song ‘The Secret to New York’.
4. The Met. Go to this museum. The artifacts and art in there is completely astounding! It’s so awesome.
5. MoMa (The Museum of Modern Art!). They have Van Gogh and Picasso pieces, and well as many other famous artists. It’s definitely worth going there to explore!
6. Grand Central Station. It’s kind of a must-see because it’s been in so many movies!
7. The Statue of Liberty. The Staten Island Ferry is free and it goes right past the island, and you don’t even have to pay a cent. I mean, you can’t go onto the island with the statue, but oh well!
8. The Rockefeller Centre. Definitely worth exploring all of the shops and buildings around there!
9. The Empire State Building. But I wouldn’t really bother paying to go up it. It’s very, very expensive!
10. Get a typical New York Hotdog from a typical, New York street Vendor! They’re so good. Yummmm!
Hope you enjoyed this blog on New York! As you can tell, I really enjoyed my time there! 

United States of America ~ Save Me, San Francisco!

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

My sister and I have this thing that we do whenever we go to a city that has a song attached to it. We did it in Vegas (with the song Waking Up in Vegas), and we did in in San Francisco with the song Save me San Francisco. What we do is we try to find a shop or a radio station playing that song while we’re in that city. Don’t ask me why, it’s just tradition! We actually got really lucky in Vegas, because the song started playing while we were in the airport about to leave!!

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen while we were in San Fran, so we just played it on our iPods instead and rocked out! I’ve linked the song just in case you love it as much as me!

Anyways, in January this year, I visited San Francisco! Enjoy!

So San Francisco is an amazing city that is full of culture. Fisherman’s Wharf is so fun to roam around, and they have so many touristy things to do, if that’s what you’re into! Also, the Clam Chowder in San Fran…Heaven! 
While we were there, we did the really touristy things, like visiting Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Personally, I thought that Alcatraz was amazing! But take note, BOOK IN ADVANCE! We did, and it was really lucky that we did because some people had been queuing there from 4am until 7am! Also, the day that we went was absolutely freezing (because it was in the middle of winter and Alcatraz is on an island), so if you’re going to go in winter, make sure you dress warmly!
Alcatraz Island
When you get to Alcatraz, you can do the audio tour, which is so interesting and really fun. You put on your headphones and the tour navigates you around the island and the prison. It’s really well done and so informative, so if you get a chance to go to Alcatraz on your visit to San Fran, definitely do it! 
It was so much fun to take the old trams/ streetcars around the city. They’re more expensive that the ordinary buses, but you can get a day pass which works out well if you take the trams a few times in the day. But bear in mind, the queues are absolutely massive! People don’t take the trams go get somewhere quickly, but because it’s such an awesome experience that is quite unique, it’s very popular! You can get a tram to the top of Lombard Street, which is another tourist destination!
A tram going down the hill to the piers
Personally, I wouldn’t drive down Lombard Street! It’s known the as the Crookedest Street in the world, and in summer there are flowers decorating all of the bends in the street. In winter it’s pretty bare, but it’s still really cool to see what the locals did with a street street to make it more appealing to the eye and less dangerous for drivers!
We drove out to the Golden Gate bridge one day, which was awesome, because I’ve been seeing it in movies my entire life. It’s such an amazing piece of engineering, and it makes great photos!
Lombard Street, the Crookedest Street in the world!

 As usual, we also shopped a lot in San Fran. If you’re looking for more to do, Chinatown is always worth a look, and Haight-Ashbury, the hippy area in San Fran is interesting. Golden Gate park is at the end of Haight-Ashbury, and it’s an absolutely massive park that has everything in it from Carousels to Art Galleries! We were lucky enough to come across people learning how to salsa in the middle of the park, which was really fun to see people getting out and getting involved in the free classes!

San Francisco is an amazing city, and I’d love to go back someday, because I’m certain there is way more to see!

United States of America ~ Skiing Big Sky, Montana (& Yellowstone)

So I figured that I should write about this amazing place in the world before someone else beats me to it! In January this year, I was lucky enough to explore Big Sky, in Montana. It’s a ski resort, and if you like skiing in Canada, Japan, Europe…wherever, you’re going to love Big Sky! (and YellowStone National Park!)

Big Sky
So Big Sky is about an hour drive from Bozeman Airport and it’s definitely one of the smallest ski resorts that I’ve been to. Firstly, the town centre is really, really small, but so is Big White in Canada, so I didn’t really have a problem with that.
We stayed in the Shoshone apartments, in an apartment lent to us by a friend that overlooked the main slope! So amazing! The Shoshone had an indoor/outdoor pool, and lounges where you could go and relax and be social after skiing.
The snow in Big Sky was absolutely AMAZING! It is some of the best powder snow that I’ve found anywhere in the world, but I have to warn you…
So we went in January right? Which is the middle of winter…
And one weekend we got -25 degrees Celsius. Despite the fact that we were in Montana to ski, I didn’t ski that weekend, because after two runs you couldn’t feel your fingers or toes!

 It was fun to explore Big Sky and it’s an awesome ski resort because of the fact that there are NO lift lines! Like literally, you can get straight onto a lift with no wait time! The only time in two weeks that I waited for a lift was when it was a public holiday, and everyone came up from Bozeman for the day. Big Sky is such a hidden gem in that aspect, and if you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing ski holiday, this is definitely the place for you!

Unfortunately, it is quite pricey, and for those between about 13 and 20 there isn’t really that much to do after skiing. I took some yoga classes (never again!!), but that was about it. Just family time really!

Yellowstone National Park
Another amazing thing about Big Sky though is how close it is to Yellowstone National Park! We took a tour on a day when it was about -16 degrees, so it was pretty cold, but it’s one of the most beautiful areas in the world. On the tour, you actually go into Wyoming in a van with caterpillar tracks, and there is so much wildlife around, like bison and deer.

It was awesome to see the geisers in winter, because they were basically just steam when they erupted! I loved seeing Old Faithful and the hot springs that were crystal clear blue!

If you are looking for gorgeous pictures, it is often hard to shoot the white on white backgrounds in yellowstone, and for that, it might be better to go in Summer. But if you want gorgeous scenery that you won’t see anywhere else in the world, then Yellowstone in Winter is the Place to go!

My favourite photo that I’ve ever taken was taken at Yellowstone National Park, and it is the photo below of the snowflake that landed on my glove. I’m obsessed with catching snowflakes on my tongue, and have been ever since I was a little kid, so this photo always makes me happy whenever I seen it. Hope you enjoyed this! Let me know about your experiences in Big Sky!! 🙂

Live from LAX

So I literally JUST WROTE THIS BLOG AND THEN IT DELETED! Hating life. Anyways, here we go again!

So here is the blog, as promised! At the moment, I’m sitting in LAX waiting for a flight to Vancouver.

So I know I promised to write something about cheap airport food, but the thing is, I’m really not that hungry. Kudos to QANTAS for keeping us full for the whole flight! But really LAX- Terminal 6? I’ve passed 3 restaurants, and I really don’t feel like Ruby’s Diner at 9am!

So because I’ve basically run out of news on the food front, I’ll tell you about my flight!

It was 12 hours and 40 minutes long. I was sitting beside a father and his 10 year old son, and I have to say, if I had been that well behaved at 10 years old, I would have been the dream child! And if you guys ever read this, I apologise for my fidgeting every hour or so. Yeah, I know I’m not 10. Really sorry!

Anywaaays, so we got a beautiful sunrise at about 30 000 somewhere over the ocean between Hawaii and LAX, which was great!

Then, just as we were coming in, the pilot made this announcement:

“For those of you transferring on, look for the wall….*30 seconds of radio silence*…and then turn right.”

Well, there’s only one wall in an airport terminal right? 😛

I promise not to do another diary-entry, as-it-happens blog for a while, because I know that they’re a bit…well…yeah. But I’ll write again soon! I still have the America Series to finish! 🙂